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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.56, No.5, 931 ~ 947, 2010
Gender, Crime, (Woman) Detective: Sexual Politics of Early British and American Detective Fiction
계정민 Joeng Meen Gye
This paper examines the role of gender ideology in early British and American detective fiction focusing on the female detectives. Since a detective`s attributes honor and idealize such traditionally masculine qualities as independence, intelligence, heroism, and bravery, the woman detective fiction has potentiality to operate against the established gender norms. The narratives about women in pursuit of justice and order through their criminal investigation can allow women to possess the masculine rationality and power. The subversive possibility inherent in the woman detective fiction is, however, contained by the representation of the female detectives and the negotiation through narratives. A female detective is represented either as unfeminine and thus unattractive and unlikeable or as desperate for survival. Her threatening potentiality is easily dismissed as that of an inadequate woman or a desperate one. The compromise in narratives is effected by the following three ways: first, a female detective is assigned to investigate crimes as an assistant to the male detectives; second, staying within the domestic sphere, she solves crimes by using her expert knowledge of the domestic service; and third, her detective narrative ends with the conventional marriage plot. Confining the female detectives within the conventional feminine roles and domains, the woman detective fiction supports and reestablishes the dominant gender ideology.
Key Words
범죄, 추리소설, 여성탐정, 젠더, 여성탐정 추리소설, crime, detective fiction, female detective, gender, woman detective fiction,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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